Saturday, January 5, 2013

EJ100 #11 Exodus 12:1-30

Today's Essential Jesus reading: Exodus 12:1-30.

This passage recounts the last of the ten plagues God brought upon Egypt, the means by which the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt, thus explaining the origins of the Israelite Passover Festival.

This passage has three parts:
  1. 12:1-20 The LORD gives instructions to Moses and Aaron.
  2. 12:21-27a Moses passes on the instructions to the elders of Israel.
  3. 12:27b-30 The Israelites obey the instructions, and the firstborn of Egypt are killed.
The action scenes in this passage are a small part of the overall whole. Once Moses and Aaron had given the instructions for the first Passover, the Israelites bowed down and worshiped the LORD [12:27b]. Then they obeyed the instructions God gave them through Moses and Aaron, roasting their Passover lambs and preparing their unleavened bread, daubing their door lintels with blood from the slain lamb [12:28]. At midnight the LORD passed through Egypt with "the destroyer" and struck down the first born of every Egyptian family [12:29, see also 12:23]. Pharaoh and all of Egypt mourned [12:30].

The majority of the passage, however, contains the instructions for celebrating Passover initially and into the future, when the people would settle in the land God promised to Abraham. They were to observe the anniversary of the Passover annually, along with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, with their families for generations to come. This was a "lasting ordinance" [12:14,24].

As a "lasting ordinance", it is important to understand how Jesus' death has re-shaped Passover celebrations. Jesus was crucified during the Jewish Passover Festival [John 18:28; 19:14], probably on Friday, 7 April (14 Nisan), AD30*. In 1 Corinthians 5:7b, Paul explains, "Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." So Christians celebrate the Passover through the lens of Jesus' death: Easter.

The verses around 1 Corinthians 5:7 explain one application of the truth that Jesus Christ is the ultimate Passover lamb.
"Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch - as you really are. For Christ, the Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." [1 Corinthians 5:6-8]
Because Jesus Christ has died in my place, I am to live as one "unleavened" by sin. I keep the Passover Festival with honesty. (This is the same message as Amos gave, from the previous day's reading.)

In my day to day life, sincerity means saying what I mean and doing what I say, particularly to my kids. I can't make spur of the moment promises to my kids that I have no intention of keeping, or am likely to forget. I can't tell my kids I'll do something with them or for them if I am not going to do it. I need to watch my words carefully, and make sure my deeds match my words. That is sincerity.

In my day to day life, truth means teaching my kids the gospel, explaining biblical doctrine to them, taking time to answer their many questions about God. I need to listen when my six year old prays at the dinner table, "God, help me to believe in you because I haven't seen you yet", and patiently and consistently tell him about Jesus, who came to make the invisible God visible. I need to be careful what I type here on my blog, careful to write only truth about Jesus, as I have learnt it from God's word, the Bible. When I lead women's Bible studies, I need to be watch my words closely, so I do not inadvertently teach falsehoods about the LORD God. And I need to remember that Jesus is the ultimate Truth [John 14:6].

> Are you honest, sincere and truthful at all times and in all matters?

Why do I love and worship Jesus?
Jesus is my Passover lamb. He died so that God would pass over me and not destroy me for my sins.

Thank you Jesus,
for dying on the cross, shedding your blood
so that God's wrath would pass over me.
Please help me to live a life
characterised by sincerity and truth,
a life not leavened by malice and wickedness.

Tomorrow's reading: Exodus 16:1-35.

*  For more information on the date of Jesus' death, read the section on Individual Chronological Dates: The crucifixion of Jesus, from Rainer Reisner's "Pauline Chronology", pp10-11.

No comments: